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Greek Companies Using Macedonia Brand Face Challenge Over FYROM

Αssociated press

FILE- In this Wednesday, Oct, 8, 2014 file photo, a modern bronze statue of Alexander the Great stands under the cloudy sky of the northern port city of Thessaloniki, Greece. (AP Photo/Petros Giannakouris, File)

ATHENS – Caught unawares by a name deal Greece allowed to rename the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), some 4,000 Greek companies are scrambling to protect the name Macedonia they use on their products in international markets.

Anti-nationalist Prime Minister and Radical Left SYRIZA Alexis Tsipras agreed to let FYROM keep the name of the ancient Greek province of Macedonia, call itself North Macedonia, and let its citizens be called Macedonians and have a Macedonian language and identity.

The Greek companies’ products are emblazoned with the name Macedonia but they haven’t moved to get legal protection for that name and could run into confusion if North Macedonia companies start using the same name internationally, said head of the Federation of Industries of Northern Greece (SBBE), Athanasios Savvakis.

He said he’s told them to act fast before the name is taken away from them and use the help of his group, said Kathimerini, adding they can also go through the European Union Intellectual Property (EUIPO) office in Alicante, Spain for activities within the European Union at a cost of 2,000 euros, and through the World Intellectual Property (WIPO) office in Geneva for other international activities for 8,000 euros.

Savvakis said the Greek companies had been negligent and said the WIPO office has not received a single application for protection for the Greek name Macedonia on their products, leaving them exposed for competitors, including in FYROM – or North Macedonia if the deal is finally approved.

Two applications have already arrived from FYROM companies to use the name Macedonia on their products. Just 24 Greek companies have registered the name Macedonia at the EUIPO office.